NFL, NBA, NHL stats

OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup

by David Carlson
July 10, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS)

NWSL to be on ESPN2 and ESPNews for the rest of 2019 season

Getting a bump of attention after another well-viewed Womens World Cup, ESPN is jumping on board to showcase the National Women's Soccer League for the rest of 2019. A game of the week will be shown on ESPN2 or ESPNews through the end of the season, with both semifinal games and the championship on ESPN2.

While this is a good boost of attention for the league, the scheduling is a bit suspect especially as it enters into the fall, with the playoff games set for Sundays up against the NFL. Saturday games against the less watched college football might have seemed more ideal, but most ESPN properties are pretty full on Saturdays with college football. Notwithstanding the popularity of the Women's World Cup broadcast, women's soccer on TV otherwise is still in a take what it get mode it seems. Still, the league will receive much more exposure than with its current streaming-only deal with Yahoo! Sports.

Last Week's OSC Leagues Ratings Summary:

7/6 2pmESPNWNBA.05/248k
7/6 8pmNBCSNPLLNot in Top 150
7/7 1pmCBSBIG3.19/713k
7/7 2pmFOXMLS.52/1.6m
7/7 3pmNBCSNPLLNot in Top 150
7/7 6:30pFS1MLS.12/305k

MLS got a big boost with a match on FOX immediately after the Women's World Cup match. The game logged 1.6 million viewers and an impressive 0.52 demo rating, which according to was the most-watched MLS telecast on English-language TV since 2004.

Despite getting a prime time slot on Saturday, the Premier Lacrosse League on NBCSN failed once again to crack the top 150 cable shows for either day. Eight other programs on NBCSN made the top 150 for either Saturday or Sunday, including all-morning coverage of the Tour de France that started at 8am getting a .06 and 310-340k viewers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Looking over the Top 150 for the day, though, reveals how network availability and other factors may lead into what gets rated where, or just plain margin of error in Nielsen reporting. For example, on Sunday an infomercial on USA Network at 7am was apparently the 128th most watched cable program of the day, getting a .05 demo rating and 168k viewers. Was a 7am infomercial really watched handily by more 18-49 year olds than either PLL telecast on NBCSN? Nielsen apparently would lead you to believe so.

In other odd-ball events of the week, ESPN2 got 1.3 million and a 0.55 demo rating for its annual 4th of July broadcast of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition. A broadcast of an American Cornhole League event following the competition was the 4th most watched cable telecast in the 18-49 Demographic with a 0.25 rating, and 648k overall viewers. Both broadcasts had more viewers on the 4th in the 18-49 demo than ESPN broadcasts of Wimbledon and two MLB matchups. ESPNews also got a rare mention in the top 150 shows because of the holiday, with a SportsCenter AM rebroadcast and a rerun of the 1999 HR derby both ranking in the 140's. This is a bit significant as the first NWSL broadcast will be on ESPNews next weekend, and it is seen as unlikely to break into the Top 150 for the day.

On Friday evening, ESPN's two NBA Summer League games were the most watched cable programs for the day in the 18-49 demo, with 1.6 million watching New York/New Orleans contest featuring the debut of Zion Williamson, although the Lakers/Bulls also got 883k viewers. While one wouldn't expect that interest to translate to wide G-League interest on TV down the road, it is something the NBA might look at to figure out if they can somehow harness that curiosity in the fall with the G League.

With women's soccer in TV news, another women's sport also got increased exposure in the past week. ESPN2 and ESPN got decent numbers for the USA Softball International Cup, with Friday's game drawing 257k viewers, Saturday's game 362k, and Sunday's game with 399k. The rating could spur National Pro Fastpitch to look at increasing its TV exposure.

• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...

Major League Soccer Stories from July 10, 2019

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew